Virtual Reality has made some big promises in terms of immersion and game-play but for families, this can sometimes fall a little flat. Either the games are rated for older players, or they focus only on one main player.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure solves this problem in some unusual ways. It is suitable for all ages, although it should be noted that the VR side of the game is only for those 12 and older.
However, as well as that it offers the kind of innovation we are not used to in movie tie-in games.
While one player dons the PlayStation VR headset to captain a submarine and target treasure, up to three other players can jump him to assist them.
The captain sees a virtual view of the world through the headset; other players use the TV to solve puzzles that enable the pilot to quite literally plunge the depths - with grappling plunger ammo.
This builds on Angry Birds Isle of Pigs that used AR and VR on your smartphone by mixing in multiplayer mechanics that reminded me of Overcooked!
However, here the stakes are raised higher. Not only do you have to coordinate with the other players on the screen to get the right elements but you must also communicate with the VR headset-wearing captain.
As you can see, in a family this works really well. Players have to work together to get a high score on each level. It’s accessible fun that starts simply but soon gets pretty challenging.
The VR heat works to both immerse the player in the world as well as separate them from their teammates
If you want to get your family talking to each other, this is a great way to do it. Although as the pressure mounts, this soon turns to frantic commands, confusion and a lot of laughter - and the occasional argument when the teamwork goes to pot.
I spoke to Sami Ronkainen, creative director at Rovio, about moving Angry Birds into new technology.
“Angry Birds was one of the big successes when the touch screen came out,” he said. “We are now making use of new interactions in Augmented Reality with Isle of Pigs.”
The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure takes this further.
The time I spent testing the new VR game it was clear to see that, regardless of whether the family had played the original, there was plenty of clever touches here to keep them engaged.
By the end of the sessions, the whole family had enjoyed both the assistant and VR captain modes.
While it’s easy to overlook simple family games like The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure compared to big-budget VR titles, it is games like this that make Virtual Reality something appealing to a wider audience. Just as the original Angry Birds did when touch screens first came out.
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